i was so excited last year when Michael made the AL All Star team for the first time in his career. unfortunately this season, i will not be repeating that joyous feeling. the All Star reserves were announced today and Michael Brantley is not one of them.
this year's Midsummer Classic starters were revealed on July 5 in the 2015 All Star Starters Selection Show on ESPN. as expected, Michael was not one of the three starting American League outfielders. those honors went to Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, and Lorenzo Cain & Alex Gordon* of the Kansas City Royals. the final AL voting results showed that Michael finished 9th out of 15 outfielders.
then on July 6 in ESPN's All Star Selection Show, the All Star reserves, pitchers, and final vote candidates were disclosed.
Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles, Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays, and J.D. Martinez of the Detroit Tigers were named as the 2015 AL OF reserves. Brock Holt of the Boston Red Sox, a super utility player who can play the outfield, was also selected as a reserve.
again, i'm not surprised that Michael was not chosen as a reserve. (he isn't a final vote candidate either.) he's noticeably struggled this season because of the lower back strain that he's
had since the first day of spring training. at this time a year ago i believed that Michael was going to make the All Star team for years to come. i know he would have made it this season if he was healthy and playing better, so that just makes it all the more disappointing.
in hindsight, this might be the best thing for him. getting 4 straight days off could really help his back. cause you know Terry Francona is not going to sit him out for a couple consecutive games to strengthen his back in the second half of the season unless Michael becomes unable to swing a bat. still, i wish (more) Indians fans would have voted (more) for him anyways. i voted with 103 different email addresses, yielding 3,605 votes for Michael. my only regret is that i didn't vote more.
after voting concluded on July 2 at 11:59 pm EST, here is where Michael ranked among 28 qualifying AL OF:
1st - doubles (23)
tied 2nd - sac flies (4) and intentional walks (5)
5th - walks (32), batting average (.297), and OBP (.367)
tied 6th - outfield assists (7)
8th - hits (80)
9th - RBI (41)
tied 9th - extra base hits (27)
Michael also had the least amount of strikeouts (23).
and this where Michael ranked among 7 qualifying AL LF:
1st - doubles
tied 1st - sac flies and intentional walks
2nd - RBI, walks, outfield assists (6), and batting average
3rd - extra base hits and OBP
4th - hits and OPS (.795)
tied 4th - stolen bases (9)
5th - total bases (115), plate appearances (305), and SLG (.428)
Michael also had the least amount of strikeouts.
the sole Indian who will be representing Cleveland at the All Star game is 2nd baseman Jason Kipnis. (every team must have at least 1 player representing them at the game.) he made the team as an All Star reserve despite leading all AL 2nd basemen in numerous categories.
for all the importance that's put on this game--the winning league gets
home field advantage in the World Series--it's still just a popularity
contest. in my opinion, something
has to change with how starters are selected because some of the
starting players (always) have lower stats than the reserves or players
weren't chosen to play in the game at all. and that's
this year things were a bit sketchy with the voting because 1. it was entirely online and 2. Royals fans were voting like crazy. they seemed to think their whole team should be starting because they made it to the World Series last year (and lost). i'm very glad that in the last 2 weeks, some other AL players took over the lead at their respective positions because i had zero interest in watching KC battle the National League. i do want fans to continue to have a say in who gets to play in this game, but i also think the process needs to be re-evaluated.
thank you to everyone who voted for Michael and those who voted with the link in my blog. we gave it a valiant effort. we'll get him there next season!
the complete list of 2015 All Star participants can be found here. if you have any thoughts about who made it, who didn't make it, or how the selection process should be in the future, leave a comment below!
and don't forget to tune in to the 86th annual Midsummer Classic at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio on Tuesday, July 14 at 7 pm EST on FOX.
*edit: on July 8, Alex Gordon injured himself in the game versus the Tampa Bay Rays. on July 9, KC put him on the DL with a groin strain, an injury that's expected to keep him out of game action for 8 weeks. shortly after that news broke, it was announced that Brett Gardner of the New York Yankees would be taking his place as a starter in the All Star game.